There are CHEATERS and then there are STUPID CHEATERS!
Bad campaign finance reports could end in Felony Charges for Little Danny Lopez and those he gave illegal goods to!
Candidates for office filed their 30-day campaign finance report with the Ethics Commission (County Elections Office) this week. For a few of them, it was their FIRST filing.
Although it’s a matter of public record, the County Elections Office doesn’t fall all over itself to make these reports public… or even say who has and hasn’t filed one. Don’t know if they’re protecting their friends, hiding their office’s poor performance or just plain lazy, but it’s virtually impossible to get a straight answer from them on anything that should be available to anybody who walks in off the street.
The State of Texas, on the other hand, makes reports public online as soon as they are processed. That’s how we know that Tracy King is kicking the bejesus out of Jerry Garza in fundraising, and that Fernando Sanchez is still living off the $50,000 illegal contribution he got from his step mother. That’s also how we know that Sergio Mora is on the “Delinquent Filers List” and has already been fined by the Ethics Commission for failure to comply with election law.
But Webb County filers? FORGET IT!
Take, for example, the January finance report, which took weeks to get out of the County office. We discovered that the leading candidates for County Commissioner, John Galo and George Altgelt, had filed their financer reports on time and presumably with full disclosure of the money they raised and spent. So did Poncho Casso.
However, we discovered that Hector Cortez filed a form wherein he swore not to raise or spend more than $500 in the campaign, thus exempting him from reporting. Almost the next day, he went out and bought thousands of dollars’ worth of signs, T-shirts and even a $2,000 magazine ad. According to the Texas Ethics Commission, as long as Cortez filed a full report, he would not get in trouble for trying to cheat on his reports. Our sources say he HAS filed a report, though it may be a while before we know what’s in it.
The disturbing information is that Danny Lopez Jr., “Mr. Nice Guy,” not only could be in deep doo doo with the Ethics Commission but could have exposed himself and other candidates to FELONY CHARGES!
Through his own ignorance, Lopez FAILED to file his January report. PERIOD. IF anybody files a complaint (it won’t be the Lizard, folks, but someone probably ought to make sure he doesn’t get away with this), then Danny Junior will be subject to fines of $500 for the first day he didn’t file and $100 a day for every day after that up to $10,000. Lopez finally filed that report a week or so ago, which means he’s probably on the hook for fines close to the $10,000 max.
Worse though, is the fact that he claimed that he didn’t raise or spend anything during that period. That everything was an in-kind donation. From whom? FROM DANNY’S RESTAURANTS? (LAREDO REAL FOODS, INC.) A CORPORATION?
All the rice and beans you see at various civic functions are donated by Lopez’ campaign, but supplied as in-kind donations from Laredo Real Foods, INC. A CORPORATION.
Lizard fans, that’s not a mistake in filing. THAT’S A FELONY! Somebody could go to jail behind that kind of illegal campaign practices.
Additionally, every candidate, campaign and non-profit that accepted rice and beans and tortillas and labor and ANYTHING from the Lopez Campaign is subject to the same criminal charge.
I suppose Danny can claim that all those sacks of frijoles y arroz came from his father, a private citizen. But I seriously doubt Danny Senior has that large a pantry in his home. And as sweet and kind as the Lopez’ are … and they are definitely that … they obviously think they can skate around the law because other politicians owe them favors.
Well, kind readers, ignorance of the law doesn’t make you innocent. It makes you ignorant! And Danny Lopez Junior’s campaign has stepped into the deepest doo doo since Frank Sciaraffa asked his first Webb County Employee to whistle a happy tune.
No wonder he’s bankrupted so many of his Dad’s restaurants and clubs!
He probably needs to start selling rice and beans for his own defense fund. He’s going to need it.
TO BE CONTINUED…